Annual Report 2020

Employee Issues

Within the context of the statutory requirements in the Non-financial Declaration, employee issues include the following material topics: “Appeal as an employer” and “Approach to diversity and equal opportunities” (see materiality matrix).

Appeal as an Employer

The coronavirus pandemic dominated the 2020 fiscal year, also as far as Vonovia’s employee issues are concerned. Protecting our employees was our utmost priority. Appropriate measures were taken early on when the pandemic first broke out, particularly for employees working on construction sites but also in the customer service centers or in administration. Over and above the provision of protective masks and disinfectant in all of our offices, regulations governing building access and workplace usage, the Management Board’s appeal to employees to use the German coronavirus alert app and the high level of discipline and responsible and flexible commitment shown by all employees largely helped to prevent the virus from spreading among the workforce. The company rewarded its employees for these efforts at the end of the year by paying a tax-exempt special bonus of € 1,500 per employee in Germany and Austria. The measures taken to protect against the coronavirus were coordinated centrally in a coronavirus task force set up by the Management Board, which reviewed the pandemic situation within the company on a regular basis under the auspices of the Management Board and Supervisory Board office. This shows just how important protecting Vonovia’s employees is.

The Group management team and the works council reacted to the changes in the overall conditions very early on in the year and extended the existing works agreement on mobile working. We have made working hours more flexible to allow employees to strike a balance between work and family life. Works agreements on company holidays, furlough and on measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic were concluded with the co-determination committees, although fortunately we did not have to make use of them.

It has become apparent that the impact of the crisis was cushioned by the considerable mobility shown by our employees and the high level of digitalization. We were able to implement remote working wherever possible. Other digitalization elements, such as options allowing employees to report absences due to illness via an app or record their working hours digitally, have created further benefits in terms of flexibility and allowed Vonovia to continue operating largely without restrictions.

Vonovia’s continued economic stability is solidifying its position as a safe employer. More than 1,000 new employees have been hired since the spring of 2020, In addition to this, there are 200 trainees who started their training with us in the summer of this year. This is the largest number of trainees we have ever had at the start of a training year. Vonovia also offered young people working at companies struggling due to the coronavirus crisis the opportunity to continue their training at Vonovia. Promoting young talent and offering them prospects within the company is a key component when it comes to addressing the shortage of workers with the desired skills, a problem that is also relevant for Vonovia. 2020 has shown that Vonovia is a reliable and secure employer, even in uncertain times. After all, we need well-trained, qualified employees to achieve our mission and pursue our growth strategy.

Employee Key Figures









Total number of employees*




of which female




of which permanent




Number of nationalities**




Average age (total)




Number of people with disabilities**




Total number of trainees***




of which commercial




of which technical trade




Training rate***





Bien Ries included in total number of employees. All other values "except number of trainees and training ratio" excluding Bien Ries.


Not including Sweden. Germany and Austria taken into account.


Based on Germany only incl. Bien Ries.

As well as offering flexible working options with a high degree of digitalization, the company specifically promotes outstanding specialists and managers, not only to offer attractive jobs to new hires, but also to ensure that they stay with the company. Therefore, targeted personnel development via further training measures forms a key component of our HR management strategy – both in Germany and in Austria and Sweden. Needs-based training courses and programs include training sessions and specialist seminars, management development courses and certified qualification schemes. We support the further development of our high-potential candidates through our own Vonovia Academy and our cooperation projects with EBZ Business School in Bochum, which focuses on property management, and other educational institutions. Talent management, keeping our top performers within the company and systematic succession planning are key elements of our HR management system. In order to reduce the administrative outlay involved and allow us to better monitor further training measures, we are aiming to take the next step in our digitalization process in 2021 by introducing the IT application Success Factors Talent and Learning. This program also has the potential to support the expansion and organization of online training sessions.

The satisfaction of our employees is a decisive indicator for allowing us to assess our appeal as an employer. In 2019, we conducted a comprehensive survey among our employees from all over Germany in this regard. To ensure that the results of the survey and the opinions expressed by our employees actually translate into improvements, Vonovia has decided to implement a structured bottom-up process: The results of the survey are discussed by the employees together with their direct managers and the team works together to identify the action to be taken. While the coronavirus pandemic slowed this process down, Vonovia has managed to present the feedback in digital format, and managers are gradually working on addressing the issues raised. Overriding measures requiring decisions at Group level are currently still being finalized with the Management Board.

Going forward, the change in the employee satisfaction value will be introduced as a key performance indicator. As a result, the employee survey will be repeated at regular intervals from 2021 onwards, conducted by an external service provider. The aim for 2021 is to achieve a slight increase in employee satisfaction as against the 2019 survey.

Vonovia is committed to the core labor standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in all areas, particularly with regard to freedom and rights of association (see Works councils represent all Vonovia employees in Germany and Austria.

Approach to Diversity and Equal Opportunities

Appreciation, performance, responsibility and team spirit are at the center of our corporate culture. These are the values that will allow us to rise to the challenges facing our sector and achieve our corporate objectives.

We see the diversity of our workforce – Vonovia employs people from more than 70 different countries – as a huge strength and opportunity that we want to take targeted measures to promote. We employ people from all age groups, genders, various nationalities and cultures and with a whole range of educational backgrounds. We also employ people with varying levels of disability. This diversity has a positive impact in our dealings with customers, too, and gives us a competitive edge.

In 2020, we harmonized various works agreements on special employee benefits in order to strengthen equal opportunities and a sense of solidarity within the company. All areas of the Group in Germany now have access, for example, to the employee share program or tax-free employer grants for capital formation purposes (from 2021). By contrast, there is a need for harmonization in our efforts to expand the annual appraisals system. These appraisals are not yet available to all employees.

At Vonovia, women are significantly underrepresented in the workforce structure, accounting for a share of 24.7%, mainly because of technical occupations in the trades. In order to strengthen diversity and increase its potential supply of specialists, Vonovia promotes employment and promotion opportunities for women – particularly in management – with its systematic succession planning system. We select our employees based on their qualifications and abilities. We make sure that we take active measures to support women and to open up opportunities for them to assume management and technical roles.

In order to attach appropriate weight to the aspect of equal opportunities and diversity throughout the Group, the key figure “Proportion attributable to the underrepresented gender at the first and second levels of management below the Management Board” is being adjusted. Whereas in previous years, the 30% target applied exclusively to the Vonovia SE part of the Group, the new key figure applies to the Group as a whole. The target has also been adjusted to 26%, to be achieved by 2024.

Material Performance Indicator











Proportion of women in management positions (first and second levels below the Management Board)




Same level as the previous year






At the top level of management, the diversity concept for the composition of the management and control bodies is set out in detail in the corporate governance declaration (see

Establishment in the Company

At Management Board level, the CEO is responsible for the company’s human resources work, which has been established centrally as a shared service within HR management. Austria and Sweden have their own HR departments. Austria reports to the HR department in Germany via dotted-line reporting, while Sweden has not been firmly established in the reporting line as it was listed separately until only recently. Rather, reports from Sweden are obtained as and when required.

The Head of HR discusses developments with the CEO on a regular basis. The objectives and focus of HR work are developed in collaboration with the Management Board and are then cascaded down throughout the organization.